Trust the Training

Each of my 20 mile runs has been something of a labor of . . . love? Hmmm. Not sure that’s accurate. 

My first 20 miler happened over Labor Day weekend and to say it was excruciating is putting it mildly. I hated every single step. It was hot. It was humid. It was horrible. 

Proof from my Daily Mile entry: 

First 20

 To which Paula very helpfully responded: 

Paula 20

Which made me laugh and made me feel slightly better, even though the next day my apartment flooded and then my car was towed and I had to fight a mouse in my dust buster. OK, that didn’t all happen the next day, but I consider the bad 20 just another event in a string of mishaps. 

So then I somehow forgot that horrendous run and managed to get myself revved up for a second 20 mile training run. As you may recall, that was the day I did the full 26.2 before giving up and getting a cab the rest of the way home. BUT, I did run the second 20 faster.

2nd 20 miler

From a 9:53 pace to a 9:05 pace. Pretty significant improvement. After, I talked to my dad who said, “See? The training is working!” I still didn’t feel as though I had done anything great, but even I could acknowledge that I had run faster. I suppose what made me still doubt myself is that I was still running consistently slower than my training plan wanted me to. 

But so what, right? I tried to convince myself of that, but didn’t really believe it. I took a week off because I felt like I was over-training, but a part of me was disappointed in myself. I ran 5-6 days a week for the better part of 2 years, but I couldn’t handle marathon training? #fail

I went into my last long run before the taper with low expectations. I had run 9 miles Monday, 10 miles Wednesday, and 5 miles Friday, only to follow it up with 20 on Sunday. It was my highest mileage week, and my back/hamstring/possible stress fracture put a pretty big deposit of doubt in my mind. 

I slept in a little bit on Sunday morning, then chomped on a few shot bloks and hit the road. And oddly, I felt amazing. The way I used to feel running all the time. When I looked down at my watch 2 miles in, I was a little shocked.

2012 10 14 08 35 46 711  1

Pleased, yes, but surprised, too. I knew I had to slow down–I still had 18 miles to go! So I made an attempt to reign in the pace and keep myself in check. It sort of worked. But it was just one of those gorgeous days where the air is perfectly humid-less and cool and the sun is shining and your legs just want to GO! And so they went. 

I mean, it was this kind of day.

2012 10 14 09 48 43 720

It was like running in a postcard. 

I did get a little tired in the last 4 miles, but I still felt good. Like I had a lot left. Like I could run a full marathon. 

And just like that, I shaved 20 minutes off my previous 20 mile time. 

IMG 20121014 114417

I’ve always heard people say, “trust the training,” and you know something? They’re right. It’s working. I’m getting stronger and faster. And I’m actually ready to run this race. When I finished my run and saw my time, I actually got choked up. I just felt so damn proud of myself. I never thought I’d run this far, let alone run it at that pace. Looking back on the last 3 months of early morning wake ups and sore legs and hundreds of pounds of ice, I don’t know if I’ve ever worked this hard at anything. Marathon training is no joke. I give a lot of credit to those of you who run marathons like it’s your job because the training is hella-intense. 

I came home and took an excruciating ice bath while Skype-ing with Corey. Usually, I’m ready for an ice bath after a long run, but this one felt extra cold. Even Corey was shocked at how red my legs were when I got done. Good thing it’s my last one until the race! 

IMG 20121014 120815

But it’s true: the training is working. Instead of feeling like I just want to get this over with, I’m just excited now. And because I am a super cheese-ball, every time I think about the race, Alicia Keys sings, “Newwww Yorrrrrrkkkkk! Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothin’ you can’t do!” 

Marathoners: Did you ever doubt yourself during your training? At what point did you start to feel confident? 


15 thoughts on “Trust the Training

  1. To be honest, I didn’t fell 100% confident my entire training, because I had a great long run, then a bad one, then an OK one, then a great one, then a horrible one, etc. But like your title says, TRUST THE TRAINING. Because on race day, you will be prepared for EVERYTHING that might happen because you’ve been through it. You will know if that cramp means you need more gatorade, or banana or to just SLOW DOWN. You will know, because you will have been there. So treat those struggling days as they are meant to be – preparation.

    When I lined up for Chicago, that is when I found my confidence. I KNEW I was as prepared as I possibly could be, because I had followed my plan. You will be, too. So relax and enjoy the ride. You’ll never forget this experience.

    • Your post yesterday got me even more excited, if that’s possible. You’re so right that EVERY kind of run prepares you. You wise, marathoner, you! XO


  2. That is SO true. And don’t discount the half–13 miles is FAR! There was a time when I could barely do 2 without pain. Just remember how far you’ve come. All of us start somewhere, right? Good luck!!! XO

  3. I don’t ever really feel that confident with my training. I’m about to run my 2nd half marathon, and my training has been lousy! I was sick, traveling, had people visiting, and suffered through food poisoning. Not ideal training. Each time I feel like my training has been no good, but I meet my goals, so I suppose that’s good.

    Congrats on a great 2nd 20 miler!

  4. When I trained for my first Marathon in March I found myself a few times thinking that maybe I had taken on too much with a Marathon. Through the training, there were certainly some ups and downs, good days and bad days. Doubts and triumphs. By the time that I got to the day of the Marathon though, I felt everything come together. When the gun went off the first thing that I said to myself was ‘trust your training’. You have put in the work. You have put in the time. Now it’s time to shine! You’re going to be great!

    • Oh, thank you, Jim! That made me tear up (super emotional runner girl over here!) I’ll remember to tell myself that when I line up at the start in NYC!


  5. hhrunner says:

    🙂 I can’t wait to see what you do at the marathon, you’re going to rock it! Just remember, it’s going to be hard but when you finish it’s going to be SO worth it! Love you!

  6. OHMYGOODNESS! You are a rock star, an inspiration! Keep on keeping on my friend. You are so well prepared and you have done all of your homework. The marathon will be the cherry on top. Enjoy!

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